As I wrote here yesterday, Stanford is a village of humungous charm and character. And so are its people.
People make the place, yes? Yes.
And among many people dedicated to making Stanford an even better place than it already is is Paul Chew.
Did I say charm and character? Paul has aircraft carrier-loads of both. And guts.
And a yearning for adventure which has taken him all over the world, attempting the weirdest challenges… and overcoming them.
Climbing icebergs, free-diving with sharks, crossing India in a ricksha, swimming the English Channel… these are just some of Paul’s gut-wrenching pursuits.
His most recent exploit was to take part in the Mongol Derby, a very demanding horse-ride across a vast tranch of China’s most inhospitable territory. He finished third, despite being the oldest person in the race.
Pure guts. But that’s not all. Paul’s thirst for adventure is matched by his hunger for positive change in the world.
His challenges have helped to raise more than R500 000 for the Mercy Corps which provides funds to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.
He’s relatively new to Stanford but, once “chosen” by this crazy village to take up residency, he looked around him and saw that all was not sweetness and light for the the people of Die Skemers, a “coloured township” up on the hill above Stanford village.
So when he heard that Inspector Mpanda of the South African Police Services was running a boxing club to give the kids something other to do than get into trouble, Paul wanted to help.
Insp Mpanda needs help. His pugilistic prodigies are enthusiastically running the roads around Stanford to get fit but they don’t have a venue. Nowhere to actually box, nowhere with a ring, nowhere with a punchbag, nowhere with gloves, nowhere with anything. Nowhere to keep warm and dry while they try to become boxers. And Insp Mpanda’s kids have potential. At a recent Western Cape tournament, 20 of his charges scooped 13 medals, gold and silver, between them.
It would be really cool, don’t you think, if they had a building in which to train. Paul thinks so.
So he’s riding the Cape Epic next week. Eight hundred kilometres of of monstrously hard mountain bike racing from Wellington through Ceres, Worcester and Elgin to Lourensford Estate. Paul has shaken off a bout of flu to complete his training for his first-ever bike race and will start on Sunday.
He would love for his efforts in the world’s toughest off-road bike race to benefit the little boxers of Stanford. For whom a boxing training venue would mean the world.
So, how can you help? I’m glad you asked. Because you can. You can sponsor Paul Chew, kilometre by tortuous kilometre, and the money you pledge will go towards enabling the good inspector to buy the materials to build a venue for the boxing club. This club will help to bring the quite separate communities of Stanford together and give the kids hope. Hope that they can become better boxers. And better people. Nothing wrong with that, hey?
* You can read much more about Paul’s deeds of derring-do by hurrying straight over to here. Please contact Janet Marshall at email@example.com or on 082 456 8091/028 341 0216 to make your pledge to support Paul Chew in his gut-busting effort to help the children of Stanford